LAKELAND, Fla. – A Lakeland man has a Christmas display so large it has taken over his dining room.

  • Lakeland man creates elaborate Christmas display
  • The display has taken over Ben Melchiorre's dining room
  • Inspiration came from department store displays

Ben Melchiorre said building elaborate Christmas displays and holiday outdoor lighting shows has been a tradition in his family for over 30 years.

“This is the largest it’s ever been,” he said, describing this year’s display, which has more than 50 structures and is several levels, practically reaching the ceiling.

The inspiration for it came from his childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, traveling downtown to see the window Christmas displays in department stores such as Higbee Company.

“We look for animation. I like animation because it keeps people interested,” Melchiorre said, describing how he finds the model homes and people at Christmas shops and thrift stores.

The village is also outfitted with Christmas music and several trains. It’s built on top of his dining room table, with Styrofoam and freezer paper to hold it up. His brother-in-law helped him reconstruct the table. It took him about a month and a half to build it.

“I [worked] a few days on it and I probably got about 110 to 120 hours of work on the village this year,” Melchiorre said.

Melchiorre would love for the village to be in place where the public could view it, but he needs a business owner willing to donate some vacant space.

“That would give the public an opportunity to see it and enjoy it and just come out and get some Christmas spirit,” Melchiorre said.

For now, only his family and friends are able to admire it.

 Any business owners interested in donating space can email Ben at